Lotus team boss Eric Boullier says his team needs to stay united if it if to stand any chance of beating Ferrari to third in the constructors' championship, having lost ground in Japan last weekend.
Although Fernando Alonso was forced to retire from the race, Felipe Massa was able to take his best finish of the year with second to allow Ferrari to outscore its Enstone-based rival – with Kimi Raikkonen the only Lotus man to score in sixth place.
That has allowed Ferrari to extend its advantage in the race for third, but Boullier said it was important for Lotus to keep pushing in an attempt to get ahead.
“Obviously, it didn't go as well as expected,” he said in reference ot the Suzuka race. “Of course, I could always say that we've increased our gap to Mercedes in the constructors' championship, that Kimi is still third in the drivers' classification, that our pace in qualifying was actually very good. But, ultimately, we scored eight points only where, after P3 on Saturday, we could have thought about a much better result. It would have been possible to close our gap to Ferrari in the standing and, ultimately, it has increased. Not ideal.
“I think the nearer we get to the end of the season, the more difficult it will be to achieve top results. We need to stay united though, stay focused on our job and make sure we can bring home more points. We're certainly facing less pressure from behind than we could have expected with a 104 point buffer from Mercedes in fifth, however it's starting to become harder now to catch Ferrari ahead of us in third position.
“Coming into Suzuka with a 14 point difference and six races to go was a lot more achievable than 24 points with five remaining. What's clear is that we need to get both of our cars into the points. We also need to add performance to the E20 so we are not having to trade paint with Ferrari, but are well ahead of them on the track instead.”